When dieters first discover Eat More 2 Weigh Less, it's usually after years of caloric restriction that has hindered fat loss efforts. It can take a little bit of research and trust, but eventually reality sets in that perpetually eating less is NOT the answer. They buckle in, and after a full metabolism reset, re-enter the fat loss ring with renewed mental and physical strength. This is not an overnight breakthrough, however. Fat loss with EM2WL often occurs in at least five stages, or “a-ha moments,” being uncovered as the journey progresses. Some will go through the stages randomly, while most tend to handle them in order that follows. In the end, if does not matter which order they are taken in, but rather that they are all learned.
The first stage for fat loss is almost always finding out you need to eat more. Generally anyone coming from a 1200 calories diet plan, or 21 day fixes or anything that restricts the amount of energy you take in, will quickly realize that you were duped into thinking “Eat Less, Move More.” It is simply not true.
Our bodies are like an engine and they require energy in order to function correctly. Without the right amount of energy, the engine begins to wear down. So when we starve on 1200 calorie diets, it is not getting enough fuel to function properly and fat loss is hindered.
The realization that more food = more energy comes quick to most. For others, its a longer process to accept that yes, we need more food. When the connection has been made, almost immediately the outward signs of under eating start to dissipate. Nails start to grow, hair stops falling out, sleep is better quality, moods change for the better and general energy levels increase ten fold.
Right after the realization that we need more calories in our day, most of us will begin to place a focus on eating more calories consistently. This stage can tend to take a bit longer to uncover. It means hitting whatever target number you are supposed to be hitting, more than 80% of the time.
If calories change as little as 100-300, it can make a huge impact on our body's ability to function correctly. Eating more can have an impact on things like sleep, hair and moods. But it can still be hindering inward changes if the amount is not high enough. It can be the difference in eating 400 calories more than you used to, but not eating at your maintenance (TDEE) level.
Once it becomes easier to consistently hit that calorie number, the next focus shifts to hitting your macros. Macronutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrates are the main three your focus should be on. Fiber is also a consideration especially when it comes to your carbs. In the beginning, your focus is just getting your calories up to your proper amount. But eventually the shift needs to change to focus on hitting these macros in order to get the right balance of nutrients needed to sustain fat loss.
It is easier to focus on hitting these numbers when your calorie level is high, making it easier to keep hitting them when you cut your calories.
In the beginning, it is easy to just workout with whatever program or cardio class you enjoy doing. Going from couch to 4 days a week will certainly help you to see fat loss happen, but soon the results slow down or stop all together. This is when the realization that lifting weights is now needed in order to continue seeing that fat loss happen. It might be something you had heard about earlier in your journey, but this blind spot tends to hide until you are ready to fully commit to a strength training program.
The final stage to fat loss is understanding that lifting weights is not just lifting a certain amount and stopping. It is constantly and consistently working on increasing the amount you lift. As you adjust to the weight level you lift, this becomes normal to your body. Therefore the benefits stall out and you plateau. By consistently challenging your muscles with heavier weights, it will always be working overtime to benefit from these levels.
While these stages can happen in any order to an individual, most uncover them in order – at their own pace. As a new “blindspot” is revealed to you, lean in…don't rush it, or attempt to avoid it. Truly understand what each stage means to you and spend the time needed in each one before working through the next.